Satisfaction with democracy

16 September 2019 | Columns

Namibia's desire for democracy stems from discontent with authoritarianism. Collectively, Namibians have more experience with colonial rule than with democracy.

After about three decades of democracy, how satisfied are Namibians with democracy?

Graph 1 below shows that the majority of citizens (around 73%) felt that Namibia is either a full democracy, or a democracy with minor problems. These perceptions have remained fairly consistent since 1999 except for 2003 when it declined to about 60%.

In general, the data suggests that approximately three in four Namibians perceive Namibia's democracy to be extensive.

Graph 2 shows that most Namibians (about 66%) are fairly or very satisfied with their democracy. This has been the trend since 1999 except for 2012 when satisfaction declined to 62%. For the four rounds of surveys done since 2008 the level of dissatisfaction has been at its highest. In 2008, 2014 and 2017 those who were less satisfied with democracy were more than 30%.

With higher levels of satisfaction there may be less immediate threats to democracy flowing from wide-scale popular discontent. But that does not mean that our democracy is safe. More hard work is required to reverse increasing levels of discontent.



* All survey data used is sourced from the Afrobarometer, a pan-African series of national public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, and society. For more details please visit http://afrobarometer.org

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